May 6 kicks off National Nurses Week 2014 and we’re ready to celebrate! Nurses support each and every medical specialty and serve as experts in their fields. Maybe none more so than in the field of Vascular Access, where nurses are not only placing lines, but working tirelessly to come up with new and better ways to provide safe care for patients.
To find out just how far vascular access nurse have brought patient safety over the years, we caught up with Linda Burns, RN, CPUI and Cook clinical specialist.
“I learned how to place PICCs during the very early 90s and at that point we had the stainless steel needles, we did not wear sterile gowns, we hadn’t even thought of that – no head cover – maybe a mask,” Burns said.
Lucky for us, a lot has changed in 20 years. In 2007, APIC and IHI released their initial recommendations for Maximal Barrier Precautions (MBP) for all central venous access devices. The CDC and INS updated guidelines in 2011, focusing on infection prevention and MBP.
“We are just a total turn around from where we were,” Burns said. “We used to put in insertions in the home in our little masks and yellow gowns and a single arm drape where we would even have animals that jumped into our sterile field and we would have to start all over again, because the animals were out of control. It was crazy.”
MBP includes a host of important steps, not the least of which is hand washing. For Linda, Zoo keeping probably also should have made the list.
Burns has many other war stories from chaotic days gone by, but when asked to sum up two decades of patient care, she couldn’t be clearer.
“So much has changed and so much for the better for patients.”
We’re saluting other nurses within Cook this week. Meet Sue and learn about her journey to Cook.